Monsoon, lightning pose safety concerns at Grand Canyon; lightning, hiking safety

GRAND CANYON, Arizona — With monsoon season actively underway, visitors to Grand Canyon National Park and Northern Arizona are reminded that summer storms are often accompanied by dangerous lightning. The National Park Service considers safety to be an important part of their visit.

Serious injuries and fatalities have occurred at Grand Canyon National Park in the past as a result of lightning strikes. Visitors to the park are reminded that if the sound of thunder follows a lightning flash within 30 seconds or less, they should seek shelter in a building or vehicle, or proceed to the nearest bus stop to get on a park shuttle.

Park rangers advise that lightning can strike 10 miles across the canyon. Park visitors and residents should stay away from exposed points during storms and lightning activity. The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Avoid touching metal railings when lightning activity is nearby.

Remember, if you see it, flee it; and if you hear it, clear it.  

Read more: Lightning awareness: Protecting your person and your property


During summer storms flash floods can also occur on trails and sometimes roadways, flash floods are common in Northern Arizona. A flash flood can travel miles beyond the rainfall that generated it, catching unwary hikers and motorists by surprise. Visitors should remember never to camp in dry wash areas, use caution when hiking in the Grand Canyon during monsoon, do not cross-flowing water or flooded trails where water is above your knees, and move to higher ground immediately if you see or hear a flood coming.

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